Press Conference on ‘The Power of Muze Concert: A Prelude to Human Security’

2 February 2010

Press Conference on ‘The Power of Muze Concert: A Prelude to Human Security’

2 February 2010
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on ‘The Power of Muze Concert: A Prelude to Human Security’

Announcing a concert in support of United Nations human security initiatives at a Headquarters press conference this morning, a humanitarian official expressed the hope that the event would kick-off global awareness of a people-centred approach to global problems.

“The United Nations, as a gathering of sovereign States, has tended to see any issue from the perspective of Governments,” said Kazuo Tase of the United Nations Human Security Unit in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“We have found we have tended to forget the perspectives of the people on the ground,” he continued, explaining that human security wanted to look at global threats -- from conflict, to natural disasters, to extreme poverty and global warming -- from “the eye-level of the people on the ground”, identifying and grasping the real, interrelated needs of people and providing an integrated response.

Welcoming the “Power of Muze Concert: A Prelude to Human Security”, scheduled for tomorrow, 3 February, in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, he said contemporary cellist Maya Beiser as well as renowned international opera singers Asako Tamura and Mari Moriya -- both honorary members of the Human Security Association -- were the featured performers.

Accompanying Mr. Tase today were Tomo Nomura, founder of the Human Security Association, and television journalist Michael Okwu.  The panellists agreed that the human security perspective addressed in an integrated manner the individual’s need for freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom to live in dignity.

Mr. Tase said United Nations initiatives included a Human Security Trust Fund supported by Japan, Thailand and Slovenia, which had already funded 187 projects in more than 70 countries since 1999.  They promoted multi-sectoral, multi-agency efforts for the well-being of individuals and communities worldwide.  However, little progress could be achieved in such an enormous task without the involvement of actors at all levels of Government, civil society and the business sector, he said.  The concert was important as the beginning of a drive to raise global awareness and support on all those levels.

Mr. Nomura explained further:  “We hope to raise awareness of human security challenges worldwide, raise funds from the private sector to support human security initiatives and, lastly, encourage the private sector’s involvement and mobilization of all possible resources.”  He said he believed in the universal power of music to raise hope, to heal, and to provide the mental support crucial to the human security approach.

The Power of Muze initiative would also bring music to communities under stress, helping them regain hope and dignity, by fostering collaborations between international and local musicians, he said, recalling that he had first been drawn to the universal power of music, as related to mental healing and the concept of human security, as a member of a men’s choral group performing Christmas carols in hospitals.  “I realized that music can help people survive and heal,” he added.

“I’m humbled, I’m touched to share the stage with people I believe will change the world,” Mr. Okwu said, adding that he was glad the United Nations was still a magnet for idealists, “people who really believe that through a vision and focus and work on the ground, they can actually make the world a better place”.  The issue of human security resonated not only because of his experience with CNN and other news outlets, but also because of his origins as a refugee from the Nigerian civil war.  Because of that, the human security approach “touches my heart, allows me to be more emotional than I’m allowed to as a journalist”.

Asked whether the Human Security Association was responding to the earthquake in Haiti, Mr. Nomura said Haiti was one area where he wished to create more linkages between the United Nations and the private sector.  The Association had already made some donations and would contribute more, while providing music-related activities in the future.

In closing, Mr. Okwu acknowledged that while press conferences often made him cynical in his work as a journalist, the Power of Muze initiative had a genuine emotional component.  He recalled the amazing effect on all present when Nigerian children in an orphanage in Gabon had broken into song to welcome visitors, many years ago.  Music was not the total cure to the world’s ills, but it was an important tool, he said.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.